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Zorada is the third generation of organists in her family: her grandmother, Edna Labuschagne, was the organist at the Groot Kerk in Graaff-Reinet for 40 years, and her mother, Zorada Labuschagne, held several organist positions, among others in Newton Park, Port Elizabeth.

 

She is known as one of the country’s foremost organ improvisers, particularly for her innovative soundtrack improvisations for several silent films: The Hunchback of the Notre Dame, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and The Phantom of the Opera. She is the first South African to pursue this art form. 

 

For her groundbreaking contribution to classical music she received a special Kanna award at the KKNK in 2006. In 2007 she received the MJ Thom award for exceptional teaching from the FAK.

 

As organist Zorada gives performances country-wide, doing soundtrack improvisations for silent films as well as free improvisations on church music. As soloist she has performed with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra in Saint-Saëns’ Organ Symphony and with the Hugo Lambrechts Symphony Orchestra in a Handel concerto. She has also undertaken concert tours to the USA, Switzerland, Belgium and Namibia.

 

Her first CD with organ improvisations on church hymns, In Hemelse Taal (In Heavenly Language Linguis Angelorum) is released in 1998, the first of its kind in South Africa. Thereafter two CDs follow, Lingua Gratiae (Language of Grace) and TWO (Trumpet with Organ), both in 2004. Her fourth CD with organ improvisations, Lingua Sancta (In Holy Language), is released in 2010, Lingua Laudis (Language of Praise) in 2013, and Lingua Natalis (Language of the Nativity) in 2017. As accompanist she has also contributed to several other CD recordings.

Besides being a renowned organist, Zorada is also known as pianist, and together with Elna van der Merwe she forms the piano duo, the Blondes, who arrange classical and light music into innovative medleys for two pianos. In addition to performing at most of the arts’ festivals, corporate and private functions, they were invited to perform in Israel and Lesotho in 2009, and  performed in London for the first time in 2011. Their first CD/DVD was released with music by Bach, Mozart, ABBA and the Beatles. Their second CD, with music by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Queen, was released in 2010.

Zorada has also adjudicated several competitions, including ATKV Muziq 2010, the Sanlam National Music Competition 2010, Unisa Overseas Music Scholarship Competition 2007, the Beethoven and Rachmaninoff Competitions (SU Conserve), as well as the eisteddfods of Stellenbosch and the Overberg. She was also a piano panel member at the International Chamber Music Festival (SU Conserve) for two years. She regularly adjudicates choir competitions of the Department of Education, and was the examiner for Music in the Senior Certificate exam for the WCED for several years. Currently she is national examiner for the National Department of Basic Education and moderator for Umalusi.

Until 2007 Zorada was the Head of Department: Music at Bloemhof Girls’ High School in Stellenbosch. In 1995 she founded the Stellenbosch National Ensemble Competition and was the main organiser for 11 years. She is currently a freelance musician.

Zorada has been the organist of the Moederkerk in Stellenbosch since 1986, and is the first woman to hold the position at this historic church. She says: “It remains a privilege (as well as a challenge) to do this for two church services every Sunday, for 31 years now.”
 

 

Zorada is die derde geslag orreliste in haar familie: haar ouma, Edna Labuschagne, was vir 40 jaar orrelis by die Groot Kerk in Graaff-Reinet, en haar ma, Zorada Labuschagne, het deur die jare verskeie orrelposte beklee, onder andere in Newton Park, Port Elizabeth.

 

Zorada word beskou as een van SA se voorste orrel-improvisators, veral vir haar innoverende klankbaan-improvisasies vir die stomfilms The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse en The Phantom of the Opera. Sy is die eerste Suid-Afrikaner wat hierdie kunsvorm aandurf.

 

Vir haar grensverskuiwende bydrae tot klassieke musiek is sy tydens die KKNK 2006 met ‘n spesiale Kanna vereer.  In 2007 ontvang sy die MJ Thom toekenning vir uitmuntende onderwys van die FAK.

 

As orrelis tree Zorada landwyd op in uitvoerings van stomfilm-improvisasies, asook vrye improvisasies op kerkmusiek. As solis het sy opgetree saam met die Kaapse Filharmoniese Orkes in Saint-Saëns se Orrelsimfonie en saam met die Hugo Lambrechts Simfonie-orkes in ’n Handel-concerto. Sy het ook konsertreise na die VSA, Switserland, België en Namibië onderneem.

 

Haar eerste CD met orrelimprovisasies op kerkliedere, In Hemelse Taal (Linguis Angelorum), verskyn in 1998, ook ‘n eerste van sy soort in Suid-Afrika.  Daarna volg nog twee CDs: Lingua Gratiae (Taal van Genade) en TWO (Trumpet With Organ), beide in 2004. Haar vierde CD met orrel-improvisasies, Lingua Sancta (In Heilige Taal), is in 2010 vrygestel, Lingua Laudis (Loftaal) in 2013, en Lingua Natalis (Kersfeestaal) in 2017.  As begeleier op klavier en orrel het sy ‘n aandeel aan ‘n hele aantal CD’s.

As pianis vorm sy saam met Elna van der Merwe die Blondes, ‘n klavierduo wat klassieke sowel as ligte musiek verwerk in tweeklavierkeurspele. Benewens optredes by die meeste kunstefeeste, korporatiewe en privaat funksies, tree hulle in 2009 op uitnodiging in Israel en Lesotho op. In 2011 tree hulle vir die eeste keer in Londen op.  In 2008 is hul eerste CD/DVD vrygestel met musiek van Bach, Mozart, ABBA en die Beatles. Hul tweede CD met musiek van Beethoven, Tchaikovsky en Queen, is in 2010 vrygestel.

 

Optredes as beoordelaar sluit in die ATKV Muziq 2010, Sanlam Nasionale Musiekkompetisie 2010, Unisa Oorsese Musiekstudiebeurskompetisie 2007, die Beethoven- en Rachmaninoff-kompetisies (US Konservatorium), asook die kunswedstryde van Stellenbosch en die Overberg. Verder was sy vir twee jaar ‘n klavierpaneellid by die Internasionale Kamermusiekfees (US Konservatorium). Sy beoordeel gereeld koorkompetisies van die Onderwysdepartement, en was vir jare eksaminator vir Musiek in die Senior Sertifikaat-eksamen van die WKOD. Tans is sy nasionale eksaminator vir Nasionale Departement van Basiese Onderwys en moderator vir Umalusi.

 

Zorada was tot 2007 Departementshoof: Musiek aan die Hoër Meisieskool Bloemhof op Stellenbosch.  In 1995 het sy die Stellenbosch Nasionale Ensemble-Kompetisie gestig, en was vir 11 jaar die hooforganiseerder daarvan. Tans is sy ‘n vryskut-musikus. 

 

Zorada is sedert 1986 orrelis van die Moedergemeente op Stellenbosch, die eerste vroulike orrelis van hierdie historiese kerk. Sy sê: “Dit bly ’n voorreg (sowel as ’n uitdaging) om dit elke Sondag vir twee eredienste te doen, nou al vir 31 jaar.”

 


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Zorada is known as one of the country’s foremost organ improvisers, in both church music and in silent films. Her improvisations of soundtracks for films such as The Hunchback of the Notre Dame, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and The Phantom of the Opera are the first of its kind in South Africa. For her groundbreaking contribution to classical music she received a Kanna award at the KKNK in 2006.

On this site you will be able to listen to her music,
find details about how to order her CDs and how to contact her, and keep track of recitals, news and events related to Zorada.

Your comments and feedback are welcome.

Lingua Natalis (Language of the Nativity), Zorada’s sixth CD with organ improvisations on church hymns, is now available. Further details can be found on the albums page.